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Afghans await NZ answers

The Defence Force deployment is exempt from the level four lockdown and can still travel, although the exact details of when personnel will leave and where they will land are not known.

People promised help in getting out of Afghanistan are desperate for information, saying they don't know where they should be or who to contact.

New Zealand citizens and at least 200 Afghans who helped New Zealand's efforts there are expected to be repatriated.

Diamond Kazimi, a former interpreter for the Defence Force in Afghanistan who now lives in New Zealand, is getting calls from those who helped the military and wanted to know when help is coming.

"How do I go about coming onto the flight, I said... I still don't know but I'll try (to) find out.

"So that's a bit hard for them to live in the mountains, with children, in that condition."

The Defence Force deployment is exempt from the level four lockdown and can still travel, although the exact details of when personnel will leave and where they will land are not known.

Kazimi says those in Afghanistan have a lot of questions.

"How do they get here? It's easy to say we're going to offer this ... but there's no Defence Force personnel on the ground, everyone is just fleeing their country.

"I don't even know how we can track them down."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance to 104 New Zealanders in Afghanistan but would not say where they were, what advice they were being given, or how they planned to make sure they were on the repatriation flight.

Kazimi is also trying to figure out if his siblings, who worked with the government, would be eligible for assistance.

"My whole family has affiliation with New Zealand, we rented our house to the foreign affairs and trade people, all my siblings we worked as translators, my dad was a deputy governor.

"To be honest when we initially started working for the New Zealand Defence Force we didn't know we were going to be at this risk."

RNZ did speak with a New Zealand citizen in Afghanistan but he refused to do an interview, saying it was too unsafe and he could speak freely once he was out of the country.

-RNZ/Emma Hatton.

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2 Comments
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Tend to agree Really

Posted on 18-08-2021 16:49 | By Kancho

The government have had months of notice to plan a contingency and acted weeks ago. Covid outbreak is convenient so they can slide out from under responsibility. The procrastination and vacillation will put lives at risk. Getting NZers out is one thing deserting people who helped us is going to happen as it appears our government refused them five weeks ago. Shameful

Really...?

Posted on 18-08-2021 12:41 | By

Now that we’ve got an outbreak of the virus, don’t expect any workable decisions to come out of Wellington. Don’t forget that we have a popularity focused government rather than a working government.